The popular travel company Expedia has stopped selling holidays that include performances by captive cetaceans such as dolphins and whales — due to the cruelty involved.

The company tweeted the following: “We recently adjusted our animal welfare policy. As a result, attractions and activities that involve performances by or interactions with dolphins and other cetaceans will no longer be available on our sites.”  Expedia intends to implement the new policy by early 2022.

There are more than 3,000 dolphins held in captivity at tourist entertainment venues around the world, including SeaWorld parks in San Diego and Florida. The news will add flames to their reputation struggle caused by the exposé of their cruel practices by the highly acclaimed 2013 documentary Blackfish.

This success is part of a long campaign to abolish the keeping — and the performance in shows — of any cetacean in public aquaria around the world. It is an important campaign of the animal rights organisation PETA. Its Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman welcomed the news: “PETA congratulates Expedia for officially rejecting cruel ‘swim with dolphins’ encounters and SeaWorld prisons.”

Katheryn Wise, from the World Animal Protection, said: “Travel companies play a huge role in driving captive dolphin entertainment and as one of the largest travel companies in the world we are delighted that Expedia Group is making a stand.” And the campaign continues. She added: “It’s time for other travel giants like TUI to do the right thing and follow suit.” 

Indeed, other companies have already done this. It all started when Intrepid Travel ceased all elephant ride activities in 2014, and then other travel companies started to react. In the same year, Southwest Airlines ended a 25-year partnership with SeaWorld and remove the aquarium marketing from their planes. In 2019, Virgin Holidays announced it would no longer sell tickets to cetaceans shows. Mastercard and also ended “swim with dolphins” promotions long ago after learning about the cruelty of the aquaria industry. Although this is good news indeed, we should not forget that, sadly, many public aquaria not only still keep cetaceans, but they keep many more fish and aquatic invertebrates, all of whom suffer a great deal in captivity. Freedom For Animals has been campaigning on behalf of all of them for a long time, using exposés from investigations I undertook some years ago when I was working on this issue.

“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.